Man From Boston’s Most Wanted In Custody After Hours Long Armed Standoff on Rotch Field

Shortly after 10:00 hours this morning, Tuesday October 19, Boston Police officers from District D-4 made contact with a male subject in the area of the Rotch Field in the South End who they knew had multiple outstanding warrants. At some point, the interaction escalated with the man brandishing what appeared to be a firearm. Officers retreated and found cover while attempting to keep the armed subject contained, ultimately leading to an armed standoff.

Footage from a witness obtained by Live Boston and shared earlier on Twitter shows the suspect pointing what appears to be a firearm and screaming obscenities at police. He goes on to make other threatening statements and even at one point seems to be trying to get officers to open fire upon him. A portion of the video can be seen below.

Additional officers responded with shields and rifles, holding a perimeter and waiting for additional back up to arrive. A Code 99 was eventually declared, with SWAT officers, Negotiators, Command Staff, and others responding to Rotch Field. By mid-day, numerous departments including The Mass State Police and Emerson College were assisting with the incident.

K-9s teams from Boston, State, and Transit covered all possible routes of egress in the area, and mental health clinicians from the BESTeam were called in to help. Residents who lived in the area were evacuated, and area schools were put in lockdown. Snipers were positioned on area roof tops and behind cover around the field.

Two Bearcats, which are armored rescue vehicles, allowed mental health clinicians and negotiators to approach the suspect safely and open lines of communication, showing another use of the incredible apparatus in a non-force related incident. Additionally a vehicle known as a ‘Rook’, which is an armored type of bobcat with a platform which can be raised was brought in by regional SWAT assets.

Officers from other districts, known as EDTs, were called in to assist with traffic and calls for emergencies, as the volatile situation lasted hours and tied up a large number of officers. The sister of the suspect who she identified as Ernest Fields, told the media that she was nervous and felt that her brother likely did have a real gun and he was having a psychotic episode. She told us that she felt as if he should be medicated and was in dire need of help.

Ernest Fields, who Boston Police have still yet to officially confirm as the subject, is a well known criminal who up until today had been featured as an outstanding fugitive on the Boston Police Most Wanted list on numerous charges including aggravated assault and armed robbery by means of a firearm.

For hours, negotiators talked with Fields, bringing him food and drinks, attempting to talk him into surrender. At approximately 17:00 hours the decision was made that it was in everyones best interest to attempt to take Fields into custody. By using flash-bangs and multiple rounds of 40mm beanbag less lethal projectiles, he was safely disarmed and detained with only very minor injuries. Out of an abundance of caution, the subject was transported by Boston EMS to a local area hospital.

At a press conference late in the evening, Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief Greg Long commended his Officers for their patience and skill which allowed this situation to be resolved as peacefully as possible with no major injuries. Boston EMS was also called to the scene for an injured officer however no further details are available at this time. Due to Boston Police not providing information, it is unknown what charges Fields will face and if the firearm is real. An update on this is expected later tonight.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with mental illness or is suffering from suicidal ideation please contact The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health for resources or call 800-273-8255. To those who find themselves in need of emotional support or simply needing to talk to someone about distressing events in our community, the Boston Neighborhood Trauma Team (NTT) provides free, private support 24/7 at (617) 431-0125 or by visiting BPHC.org/trauma.